Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2022) Family, domestic and sexual violence data in Australia , AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 09 February 2023.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2022). Family, domestic and sexual violence data in Australia . Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/domestic-violence/family-domestic-sexual-violence-data
Family, domestic and sexual violence data in Australia . Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 09 November 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/domestic-violence/family-domestic-sexual-violence-data
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Family, domestic and sexual violence data in Australia [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2022 [cited 2023 Feb. 9]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/domestic-violence/family-domestic-sexual-violence-data
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2022, Family, domestic and sexual violence data in Australia , viewed 9 February 2023, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/domestic-violence/family-domestic-sexual-violence-data
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Sexual violence occurs across all age and sociodemographic groups, however women are overwhelmingly the victims. Understanding the nature and prevalence of sexual violence can inform the development and evaluation of policies, programs and services. Data on the prevalence of sexual violence in Australia is available from the ABS Personal Safety Survey (PSS) which collects information on the experiences of violence for women and men in Australia. This measure relates to sexual violence perpetrated by anyone, including strangers.
The visualisation below allows users to explore the estimate and proportion of Australians aged 18 and over who have experienced sexual violence at least once since the age of 15 (lifetime prevalence) and at least once in the last 12 months (12 month prevalence), by sex, and relationship with perpetrator. In 2016, almost 1 in 5 women (18% or 1.7 million) and almost 1 in 20 men (4.7% or 429,000) had experienced sexual violence at least once since the age of 15. Women were more likely to experience sexual violence by an intimate partner (9.2%) or other people they know (10%) than by a stranger (4.6%).
Column chart visualisation shows estimates of the prevalence of sexual assault over lifetime (age 15+), and in the last 12 months, for female, male and all (persons) victims.
Source data: Sexual violence tables (41KB XLSX)
Examining the prevalence of sexual violence over time can help to identify patterns in incidents, and evaluate the impact of relevant policies and programs.
The visualisation below shows the proportion of Australians aged 18 and over who have experienced sexual violence at least once in the last 12 months, by sex, and over time. It shows that sexual violence increased between 2012 and 2016 for women.
Examining the prevalence of sexual violence across different population groups can help to identify those groups that are at higher risk. This information can be used to inform the development of more targeted programs and services for victims and perpetrators of sexual violence.
The visualisation below shows the estimated number and proportion of women aged 18 and over who have experienced sexual violence at least once in the last 12 months for various population groups. In 2016, younger women aged 18–24 and 25–34 were more likely than other age groups to experience sexual violence in the last 12 months.
If a victim has experienced both assault or threat, or experienced violence by multiple perpetrators they will be counted once in the total only.
Prevalence of sexual violence reported by the PSS excludes incidents of sexual violence that occurred before the age of 15 - these are defined as sexual abuse. It also excludes sexual harassment, or broader and complex forms of sexual violence, such as technology-facilitated or image based abuse.
Survey data, obtained from a sample of the population, is subject to sampling error. Where estimates are subject to a level of sampling error too high for general use, they are not included in visualisations, but are included in data tables, with caveats.
The observed value of a rate may vary due to chance even where there is no variation in the underlying value of the rate. The margin of error is the largest possible difference (due to sampling error) that could exist between the estimate and what would have been produced had all persons been included in the survey. Confidence intervals—constructed by taking the estimate plus or minus the MoE— can be used to provide an approximate indication of the true differences between rates. If the confidence intervals do not overlap, the difference can be said to be statistically significant. However, statistically significant differences are not necessarily the same as differences considered to be of practical importance. Small differences that have practical importance may be found to be not statistically significant as they are below the threshold the significance test can reliably detect.
Changes over time may indicate a change in the underlying rate of violence, a change in the propensity to report this violence, or both.
For more information see Methods, Glossary and Data sources.
ABS Personal Safety Survey 2016
Next expected: 2022
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